On geography and medical journalology: a study of the geographical distribution of articles published in a leading medical informatics journal between 1999 and 2004.
BACKGROUND: Studying the contribution of individual countries to leading journals in a given discipline can highlight which countries have the most impact on that discipline, and also give some idea about the geographical outreach of those journals. This paper examines the number of countries that contributed articles to one leading medical informatics journal, Medical Informatics & the Internet in Medicine, and the amount of their contributions between 1999 and the first half of 2004. METHODS: The PubMed citations of all indexed articles from the chosen journal (n = 128) were retrieved online (up to Volume 29, Number 2/June 2004 issue, the latest indexed issue as at 28 January 2005). The country of corresponding author's affiliation for each retrieved citation was recorded. The five-year-and-half corpus of abstracts retrieved from PubMed was further explored using MetaCarta Geographic Text Search http://www.metacarta.com/. RESULTS: The examined journal has an international outreach, with authors from 24 countries, spanning four continents, contributing to the journal during the studied period. The journal is dominated by a very large number of articles from Europe (81.25% of all articles counted in this study), and in particular from the UK (15.63%) and Greece (15.63%). There were no contributions from Africa or South America. CONCLUSION: A detailed discussion and interpretation of these results and ideas for future analyses are provided. MetaCarta can prove very useful as a bibliometric research tool.